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Dingus Khan

The Terraforming Project: Chapter Two

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Chapter Two: A Dead Star

It only took a few seconds before the drugs took full effect. Matthew’s head swum just like the room around him did. Matthew spent much of his time wishing he were somewhere else. Drugs seemed to be the only thing that temporarily made it seem like he really was. Leaving his small, run down, under furnished apartment behind he rode on an air glide tube to the industrial complex. The industrial complex wasn’t made to be accessible to the normal public, but the dangers there were so great that no one bothered making anything to bar the paths of those wanting to go into the complex. It was an “enter at your own risk” situation.

The tube stopped in the sector closest to the industrial complex: some commercial business area. He got exited the air tube and stumbled through the round corridors out into the complex, vision blearing occasionally from the drugs he’d taken. Giant neon billboards advertised electric sex, virtual pornography, all the smut possibly imaginable. Matthew didn’t quite mind this complex, as it dabbled in things taboo and things that most of society shunned. He always wondered why it was the one closest to the industrial complex entrance. He slowly walked by scantily clad women offering the most perverse obsessions of the flesh. One wearing a holographic clothing suit, which showed off her nude form and accentuated it extravagantly walked in front of Matthew offering herself to him. There must have been some sort of subliminal desire trigger in her holographic suit, as it was difficult for him to tell her no. He slowly waved the whore off, his motions like a sleepy cat.
Walking further ahead in the haze of tobacco smoke, sex, and drugs he could start to make out the heavy metallic exit tube that was also the entrance of the industrial sector. On the corner of one of the buildings sat a preacher with a bible in hand. Matthew at first thought he was starting to hallucinate, because of all sectors…why a preacher here? The preacher spoke to him as he walked by,
“Look at you son…barely able to walk. You must repent; I’m here to help all the lost souls in this wretched time. The end is coming. The world is over run with hatred, God will surely cleanse this world soon!”

Matthew shook his head, “Sorry, you’ve got the wrong guy old man. I’m one that God will be cleansing from the world.”

“But I can help you save your soul son!’

“I haven’t a soul to save”

He walked away from the preacher who was still prattling about salvation and damnation; Matthew could not care less.

Matthew stood in front of the metallic sphincter that exited the filth complex and entered the industrial complex. He stood in front of the sensors and the sphincter hissed open. The corridor ahead of him that led to the second sphincter smelled of metal and oil. The second sphincter hissed open. The opening was above ground level, from here he could view the entire complex; A landscape of pools of molten lead and electrode spires spanned before him. Every other complex Matthew had been in had some sort of atmosphere hologram to shield the dome ceiling making it appear like the sky still existed, yet in this complex the dome’s metal ceiling was left bare.

The path before Matthew was a metallic branching walkway, each branching section leading to a different industrial area. It was the one to the power cores that Matthew was heading. It was always beautiful to be stoned and watch the power fusion coils spin, their dazzling array of colors would always completely nullify his thoughts. He walked along the walkway gripping the guard rail tightly. He knew if he stumbled because of the drugs then he would stumble to his death. The pathway led into the side of an arch like door, yawning like a gaping mouth. Inside were two gravity tubes, one leading up and the other down. Matthew rode the gravity tube twelve stories straight down into the power core.

The tube doors slid open into a greenish haze. He had been told once that the haze was from radioactive residue particles in the air. It couldn’t be because the people that worked in the core would die. Rarely did Matthew see any of the workers down here.
The path spiraled down and down. Matthew finally reached the bottom which held “the pit”. The pit was what they called the fusion core. A large circular window over looked the Power Core, exposing the cylindrical shaft that shot down several hundreds of feet. The walls of the shaft were lined with fusion coils that while dormant glow a brilliant green. At the moment the cells were completely dormant, their green glow filling the pit. Matthew stood there for a few minutes thinking that he had come all the way down here for no reason since certain hours of the day the coils stop spinning to cool down. As he started to walk away he could hear the slow start up of the core’s spin cycle. Spinning faster and faster, the intensity of the glow increased. Soon the coils started heating and changing colors: reds, blues, purples, and soon all shades of the spectrum flying by in brilliant streaks. The drugs accentuated the colors, making them tangible, enjoyable to all of Matthew’s senses. Soon it was spinning so fast and the coils were glowing so brightly that it faded into this white column. The flowering white light was like watching a star being born in reverse. Something unusual was happening though. The room around him felt as though it were vibrating. He turned and looked to see that panel screens in the wall behind him were flickering on and off. Some sort of power interference he guessed. The room started vibrating more violently and the metal structure was creaking. Something else was happening too…something Matthew couldn’t quite put his finger on. It scared the hell out of him. Matthew looked at the core; the spins were irregular and bizarre. The power failures were affecting the core in some way. Without a proper spin down and speed deceleration rate the power core could do anything, a melt down could be in progress. Matthew quickly ran for the gravity tube gliding back to the top. Once he reached topside the power went out completely and groans of metal could be heard down below. Then the warning sirens began. Auxiliary power kicked in and there was enough light in the complex for him to leave. He ran quickly down the walk way toward the sphincter. He escaped the industrial complex and caught his breath near a building in the taboo complex. The preacher on the corner started up again as soon as he caught sight of Matthew,

“You! Did you see it?! While the lights were flashing on and off I saw the mark of the beast on a hologram! Did you see it?! The end times are here!”

After catching his breath enough to speak Matthew spoke sharply,

“Why don’t you shut the fuck up old man? If I wanted to hear some voodoo nigger shit I’d ask for it. Go practice your soothsaying elsewhere…no one here cares.”

All the fear and paranoia Matthew felt was causing him to come down from his high. He felt like he’d just let good drugs go to waste. He walked to the tube and sat down inside, badly shaken. Matthew couldn’t shake or deny the immense feeling of fear he felt while being down in the core. What the fuck had happened? Why did the power fail? Something else was there and it scared the fuck out of Matthew. What made it worse was that he couldn’t put his finger on what it was. The tube took him back to his residential complex.
Matthew stepped into his apartment column and noticed that all the power was still out. Certain things had priority for the auxiliary power systems and residential lights certainly weren’t on that list. Matthew stumbled into the dark of his apartment. It was so dark he could barely make anything out. Luckily he knew his way around.

From the couch in the center of living room he heard his love interest Xilo say,

“Hey Matt, the Emergency Comm came on while you were gone, says that some sort of power failure has stricken every complex on the planet. That’s pretty fucked up for power everywhere to go down, don’t you think?”

“I was down in the core when it happened. I had no idea what was going on…so I ran back here as fast as I could.” Paranoia edged Matthew’s voice.

“Is there something wrong? You sound a bit shaken.”

“Yeah…some weird shit happened down there. I don’t know how to explain it. I keep telling myself that it was just the drugs…but I know it wasn’t. Something scared the piss out of me man.”

“Awww…come here then.” Xilo said sympathetically.

Matthew walked over to the couch where Xilo lay. The couch faced a window out into the complex. The synthetic lights outside were set to a pale blue, like a dawn color. It required the least amount of power. Matthew sat on the edge of the couch where he could make out Xilo’s body in the pale light, which made her even more beautiful. He reached down, running the backs of his fingers across the gentle ‘S’ shaped curve that was formed by her hip and stomach. He could hear her breathing grow slightly heavier. She reached up pulling him down to her to kiss him; her legs wrapped tightly around his. The vagueness of light and the lingering drugs in his system made it seem like a dream. They were both entwined on the couch…Xilo whispered into Matthews ear…fears subsiding as he entered her…their passionate embrace lasted for what seemed like an eternity. The only eternity he knew he could ever receive. He reveled in her flesh; the only pleasure he would ever know. They finished and both relaxed, lying on the couch. Xilo folded her arms around Matthew’s chest.

“Oh, I forgot to tell you,” Xilo said still breathing heavily, “Part of the Emergency Comm’s news report said that a bunch of people were claiming that they saw the number 666 everywhere. Crazy ass religious fanatics.”

Matthew’s fear returned like a tidal wave.

I finally got around to finishing and posting my second chapter. I'm sure no one gives a fuck, but here it is. The third chapter is about half done now as well.

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I don't even remember reading chapter 1, so now I gotta look for it.

Make more.

[edit]I really hate it when I miss out on a good story. I just read the prelude and the first chapter of this story here. This places me in a much better position to judge the story overall:
So far, I think it's a great concept, though I find it a little weird that Earth should be uninhabitable so few centuries from now - but I guess everything can happen in fiction. You've got a great deal of interesting scientific details down, which seem believable enough to the regular reader (I don't want to contests any of the stuff I've read so far, because I don't know crap for science).

But as for the story-telling technique, there's a minor thing: I don't really like the transition between chapter 1 and 2. Upon reading chapter 2, I was under the impression that Matthew was a person introduced earlier in the story - then I go back and read the first chapter to find that not only is Matthew not mentioned before chapter 2, but the events in chapter 2 seem pretty much "out of the blue" with no link whatsoever to chapter 1.

Personally, I think that's a blunder, because it really only serves to add confusion for the reader. Chapter 2 could just as well have been part of a totally different story.
So if you ask me, I'd try and make the transitions between chapters a bit more smooth. Especially try to describe the characters - who is Matthew? What does he look like? What sort of person is he? Why is he on drugs?
These are questions that I couldn't immediately find answers for, but maybe my imagination is failing me today and it's really pretty obvious.

But I must admit that the situation definitely captures the reader's interest - you just need to answer some questions as to not leave the reader in total confusion. Maybe the questions will be answered in later chapters, hmm?[/edit]

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Awesome, I was able to picture the whole thing in my head while I was reading it. You did a great job in setting up a nice atmosphere.

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Thank you everyone. This is my first *real* attempt at writing. I wrote another story on here, which amused PWW and I, but i dont think it did anyone else. It was too "unique".

In response to dsm's post:

What I'm going for with chapter one and two will be revealed later on. It does seem a bit "out of the blue" like you said, but I wanted a character in the main plotline and a character on earth to experience Hell's invasion. I thought it would be interesting to be able to know what's happening back home and on Mars. Kind of like Doom/Doom 2. Things will start coming together since some elements of chapter 3 tie into chapter 2.

As for when this all occured in the future, i dont think it was too soon. Perhaps for the overpopulation bit, but technologically i think it was fine. Nanotechnology could radically change everything if it were ever truly created instead of just hypothesized about.

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Dingus Khan said:

In response to dsm's post:

What I'm going for with chapter one and two will be revealed later on. It does seem a bit "out of the blue" like you said, but I wanted a character in the main plotline and a character on earth to experience Hell's invasion. I thought it would be interesting to be able to know what's happening back home and on Mars. Kind of like Doom/Doom 2. Things will start coming together since some elements of chapter 3 tie into chapter 2.

As for when this all occured in the future, i dont think it was too soon. Perhaps for the overpopulation bit, but technologically i think it was fine. Nanotechnology could radically change everything if it were ever truly created instead of just hypothesized about.

I may have been a little oversensitive about the "out-of-the-blue" bit, but it just struck me at somewhat annoying, so I felt I had to mention it in my criticism. Now that I think about it, it's not impossible that some professional writers apply a technique similar to this - I just know that I'm not too fond of this way of doing it, but oh well, it'll be great in the end I'm sure.

As for my comment about the future, I didn't have the slightest problem with the technology level, although personally, I kinda like to imagine that the result of the demon invasion was that humanity would be thrust into a new sort of "Dark Ages", where technology even went slightly downhill (because people scavenge whatever they can find to build some sort of shelter and some sort of homes, scrapping advanced machines in the process - and later it is forgotten how these machines should've been constructed).
My only beef about it was the overpopulation bit - I thought that was a little far off somehow, especially in the light of the Hell invasion where almost all of humanity was wiped out. But, hey, it's just as small thing that really doesn't matter all that much.

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